Some CCCL staff had the privilege of a 30-minute tour and a few minutes with Dr. Anthony Atala at the Wake Forest Regenerative Medicine Institute on Friday, February 20, 2009.
Dr. Tamer AbouShwareb gave the tour of the "core" research laboratories and then Dr. Atala presented an overview of the Institute's work.
Two of the Institute's greatest accomplishments are the implantation of laboratory grown organs, specifically bladders, into humans and the discovery of a new type of non-controversial stem cell in amniotic fluid and the placenta.
Dr. Atala and his team of five people successfully implanted a laboratory-grown bladder into a human in the mid 1990s and it's amazing to think that the team of five has grown to a team of 160 people.
And it's that team, Dr. Atala said, who performs methodical and careful research on animal cells. The question the team always asks before putting a new therapy into a human is: would you put this in a loved one? If the answer is yes, then the team proceeds and has extended years of follow up with the small number of patients before the new therapy is approved and released to the entire world.
As WFUBMC employees, it is good to know that our "coworkers" downtown are performing life-saving research every day.